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Results

Sameer Agnihotri
Program(s): Cancer Biology
Contact:
Rangos Research Center, Room 7126
4401 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: (412) 218-8456
Katherine Aird
Program(s): Cancer Biology
Contact:
5117 Centre Ave
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

The central theme of my research program is to investigate the metabolic and epigenetic control of senescence in the context of cancer. Cellular senescence is a stable cell cycle arrest that can be both tumor suppressive and tumor promoting in a highly context-dependent manner. Relatively little is known about metabolic changes that either induce or inhibit senescence. Using a combination of cell and molecular biology tools in addition to high-throughput approaches such as metabolomics and functional (epi)-genomics, my laboratory aims to mechanistically understand how to induce or overcome senescence. Our studies also include aspects of translational research utilizing both ovarian cancer and melanoma models to explore whether these newly-identified metabolic and epigenetic pathways can be targeted for novel cancer therapies. The lab is currently funded by: 1) an NCI R37 MERIT Award to understand pro-tumorigenic nucleotide metabolism in melanomagenesis; 2) an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant to investigate the role of isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1)-mediated alpha-ketoglutarate production in histone methylation at homologous recombination genes in ovarian cancer; and 3) 2 NRSA F31s elucidating various metabolic and epigenetic mechanisms in ovarian cancer senescence. Pending grants include the role of nuclear acetyl-CoA production on histone acetylation and DNA damage response in ovarian cancer (NCI mPI R01) and how macropinocytosis of branched chain amino acids affects both tumor cell-intrinsic and immune cell responses to therapy (DoD Ovarian Cancer Research Program, a collaboration with Dr. Greg Delgoffe).

Jonathan Alder
Program(s): Genome Stability
Contact:
BST W1246
200 Lothrop St.
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: 412-624-8681
Nduka Amankulor
Program(s): Cancer Biology
Contact:
5150 Centre Ave.
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: 412-647-7614
Research Interests and Keywords:
  • Microenvironment and immune escape in glioblastoma
  • oligodendroglioma
  • brain and spine metastases
Carolyn Anderson
Program(s): Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy
Contact:
100 Technology Drive
Bridgeside Point Suite 452
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: 412-624-6887
Research Interests and Keywords:
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • metal radionuclides
  • diagnostic imaging
  • cancer imaging
  • radiotherapy
  • molecular imaging
  • positron emission tomography (PET)
  • cancer metastasis
Summary

The major focus of the Anderson Lab is the development, evaluation and application of radiopharmaceuticals containing metal radionuclides for diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy. We are particularly interested in 64Cu (T1/2 = 12.7 hours), in large part because it emits beta+ particles for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and beta- particles for targeted radiotherapy. We are also investigating 68Ga (T1/2 = 68 min) as a generator-produced positron-emitting radionuclide. The agents we are studying are 64Cu- and 68Ga-labeled chelator-peptide and monoclonal antibody conjugates for imaging and/or therapy of various types of cancer. One area of investigation in our laboratory is the development of radiolabeled alpha vs. beta 3 integrin ligands as PET agents for imaging bone metastasis. We have developed one agent, 64Cu-CB-TE2A-c(RGDyK), that specifically binds to alpha vs. beta 3 integrin in osteoclasts, which are bone resorbing cells that are present in high concentration in osteolytic bone lesions. This agent may be able to earlier detect painful, debilitating bone lesions associated with breast cancer, and multiple myeloma, as well as be used to determine early response to treatment of bone lesions associated with these diseases. Another area of focus for our lab is investigating imaging agents that target cell types, other than tumor cells, involved in cancer metastasis. For example, we are targeting integrin alpha 4 beta 1 as a marker of bone marrow derived cells that home to sites of metastasis prior to tumor cells as part of the pre-metastatic niche. We are also investigating immune cell types, such as macrophages, neutrophils and T-cells and their role in cancer and other diseases.

Leonard Appleman
Program(s): Cancer Therapeutics
Contact:
UPMC Cancer Pavilion
5230 Center Ave., Suite 567
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: 412-648-6507
Research Interests and Keywords:
  • Kidney cancer and other genitourinary malignancies
  • experimental cancer therapeutics
Robert Arnold
Program(s): Biobehavior Cancer Control
Contact:
UPMC Montefiore, W-919
3459 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: 412-692-4888
Maninjay Atianand
Program(s): Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy
Contact:
200 Lothrop St
W1046 BST
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: 412-383-0472
Gretchen Ahrendt
Program(s): Cancer Therapeutics
Oleg Akilov
Program(s): Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy
Contact:
3601 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: 412-647-4200
Summary

Oleg E. Akilov, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh and a Director of the Cutaneous Lymphoma Program and Extracorporeal Photopheresis Unit. Dr. Akilov directs Cutaneous Lymphoma Program providing the full spectrum of management of all stages of cutaneous lymphoma. He serves as a principal investigator on multiple clinical trials in cutaneous lymphoma. Additionally, Dr. Akilov is very enthusiastic about resident education and mentoring future dermatologists.

Daniel Altschuler
Program(s): Cancer Therapeutics
Contact:
Biomedical Science Tower, E-1348
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: 412-648-9751
Summary

Dr. Altschuler's laboratory studies mechanisms of signal transduction by the second messenger cAMP in cell proliferation. cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) and Exchange protein activated by cAMP (Epac) represent the main effectors of cAMP action. Both pathways converge at the level of the small GTPase Rap1b, via its Epac-mediated activation and PKA-mediated phosphorylation. The role of Rap1 activation (Epac) and phosphorylation (PKA) coordinating the early rate-limiting events in cAMP-dependent cell proliferation are studied using a multidisciplinary approach including molecular and cellular biology techniques in vitro, as well as in vivo validation using transgenic/knock in technologies in endocrine tumor models.

Zandrea Ambrose
Program(s): Cancer Virology
Contact:
450 Technology Drive
520 Bridgeside Point 2
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: (412) 624-0512
Summary

Millions of people are infected with both HIV and HBV. Morbidity and mortality in HIV/HBV co-infection is higher than mono-infections and co-infection accelerates HBV-related liver disease with more frequent development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), particularly when CD4 cell counts are low. Together with Dr. Haitao Guo, we will develop a murine model to study pathogenesis and HCC progression during HIV/HBV co-infection, which will be essential in evaluating mechanisms of infection as well as novel prevention methods, improved therapies, and curative strategies.

Gerard Apodaca
Program(s): Cancer Biology
Contact:
Scaife Hall, 982
3550 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: 412-383-8893
Karen Arndt
Program(s): Genome Stability
Contact:
A316 Langley Hall
4249 Fifth Ave
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: 412-624-6963
Research Interests and Keywords:
  • Gene expression
  • cellular transcription
  • mRNA synthesis
  • RNA polymerase II
  • chromatin
Summary
A critical question to ask, particularly in this genomic era, is how organisms interpret the vast amounts of information encoded in their genomes. The Arndt lab studies the first step in gene expression, the synthesis of mRNA by RNA polymerase II, with a focus on the mechanisms that regulate transcription in the chromatin environment of a eukaryotic cell. The fundamental importance of understanding transcriptional regulation is evident from the large number of human developmental defects and diseases, including cancer and AIDS, that arise when cellular transcription factors are altered by mutation or commandeered by viral proteins.
Sanford Asher
Program(s): Cancer Therapeutics
Contact:
Chevron Science Center, 701
219 Parkman Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: 412-624-8570
Velpandi Ayyavoo
Program(s): Cancer Virology
Contact:
2117 Public Health
130 DeSoto Street
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: 412-624-3070
Research Interests and Keywords:
  • HIV infection
  • microRNAs
  • viral and host gene expression
  • antiviral therapy
  • biomarker discovery
  • drug development
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